This is a perfectly personal reflection that comes from an article I read last week that referred to us being “addicted to social media.” And although I do not want to consider (or recognize) as an addict to these issues of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and those things, if I must admit that for some years now, much of my time is spent carrying my “digital life” “, Both for personal and professional things.
And so far it has been great and I think, like many, that the main advantage of these platforms is that they are free. All of them offer you the opportunity to participate, without having to spend a penny, in addition to the value of the time we have to invest in them, especially when we are using them to develop and complement our professional lives.
Is being free the main argument by which we use them?
And it is a turning point. Social networks offer us the opportunity to connect with the world in a spectacular way. In my case, I live far from my native country, it has helped me to maintain a bond with my loved ones, my friends, and all the relationships I left many kilometers away from here.
And if we talk about the professional environment, it is a different topic, because this environment allows us to develop our personal brand, our digital identity, in a way that we could never have achieved before. It allows us to get in touch with people whom we have not even had the opportunity to know physically, it expands our borders, it collapses the geographical limits to build, really, a global village.
Could I ever imagine that I would be sharing my professional opinion with a businessman in India who has a super distributor of nuts? Or that the articles of my blog were going to be read even in Australia? Never in life, however, today, is it the most common.
Many companies are embarking on this issue of “social media” pushed by the argument that “it’s free” and that allows them to “expand their business radically,” not considering even in its full intensity, the large number of hours that you have to invest to have an appropriate digital presence. And it is a valid argument, up to a point.
Many companies, especially the smallest, are moving forward, little by little, through effective management of their presence in social media. There is even a large percentage of them that have digital media as the only promotional medium they use. And that is not so valid anymore, in my opinion.
Now, the question must be asked: Do they do it because it’s free? Or do they do it because social networks really have an especially important value for them? Maybe a combination of both?
What would happen if Facebook were to stop being free?
If we, as companies, have turned facebook into the only channel of our marketing and promotion strategy. What would happen in that case? Have we considered it?
In a situation like that, two things could definitely happen:
- That we did not see enough value in what we do in Facebook, neither for us nor for our business, as to continue paying a monthly or annual amount, or as they arrange, and we decide to find other ways to keep in touch with the world.
- That we have recognized the value that facebook (and with it, all other social platforms) can add to our personal and professional lives, compare it with what the payment they ask us and make the decision to continue, this time paying.
Now, what happens if they ask us for more money than we are really able to pay?
We should not have a dependency relationship with social media.
We must necessarily understand that social media is one more tool and that in no case should it become the only thing we do within our marketing plan, no matter how scarce the resources we have available.
There are many activities that we, as entrepreneurs, can do to promote our businesses and brands, on and off the Internet, from direct mail campaigns, flyers, direct store promotions, public relations events, networking, and endless more things.
Do not blind ourselves thinking that the only alternative is social media, because then we could be wasting extraordinary business opportunities for our company and product.
Adding social media to our traditional marketing plan.
Some time ago I published an article entitled “I want to think about a re-empowered marketing”, just referring to the fact that we are faced with a host of new platforms that allow us to carry out very well elaborated and effective marketing actions.
However, we must bear in mind that the fact that digital platforms offer us the option to participate in them for free, we should not therefore make them the only space we use to connect with our client and audience.
Social media should be integrated within a comprehensive marketing plan that covers all areas of work, from promoting face-to-face contact through networking and public relations events, to disseminating the digital presence of the brand through the different spaces that exist.
What would happen tomorrow if, suddenly, we had to pay a monthly fee in each of the social networks in which we participate with our brand or product? Could we continue doing it? Do we have other alternatives?